At the MVA, many customers may be yelling or crying

AT WORK

At Work

March 29, 2006|By NANCY JONES-BONBREST | NANCY JONES-BONBREST,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Maureen Sorenson

Customer relations manager, Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, Glen Burnie

Salary --$45,000

Age --45

Years on the job --10 years in June.

How she got started --Sorenson began at the MVA as an administrative secretary. She started her current job in 1998.

Typical day --Sorenson works Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. but is unofficially on-call if needed. About 75 percent of her work is dealing with customer complaints, either by telephone, e-mail or walk-ins. She advises out-of-state drivers about how to pay fines on Maryland traffic tickets. She also organizes and attends trade shows and special events to promote new items and new technology offered by the MVA. She sometimes travels to other MVA offices to resolve problems.

Customer grievances --She regularly deals with customers who are yelling or crying. If she can't help them right away, she will at least get them a list of things to do to fix the problem. "It's the MVA. It doesn't have to be a happy experience, but it shouldn't be an unhappy experience." She has about 50 customers each day. About half are unhappy - the rest typically want information.

Doesn't like voice mail --Voice mail is "usually really frustrating for people. I like being able to just answer their [phone] call and figure it out."

The good --Helping people. "I like letting people know the MVA isn't a horrible place."

The bad --Not being able to help everybody. "For some people you can't fix what's wrong on that particular day, and it's hard."

Online services --"It's been a great thing for us to keep traffic down. If people that don't have any issues can use the online [services], then that leaves [more time] for the people that have problems and need to walk through issues."

Perk --She also is responsible for helping famous Marylanders, such as local sports figures through the lines at the MVA - she won't name them for privacy reasons. "We can move them in and move them out before anyone figures out who's there. It can disrupt the customers as well as the staff. So we do this to keep our lines moving."

Philosophy on the job --"Treat people as I would like to be treated if I was a customer."

Extracurriculars --Boating and fishing.

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